Three major behavior changes in children may have Internet addiction

Recently, anxious parents often come to consult. My child has “Internet addiction”. They stare at the games on the Internet every day, and start to secretly use the money from the mobile phone to recharge the game…

In an era when the Internet is slowly becoming a part of our lives, the phenomenon of youth “Internet addiction” is also haunting us, and studies have shown that the phenomenon of “Internet addiction” is occurring in younger and younger children. A research report pointed out: Internet addiction teenagers accounted for 14.1% of the urban adolescent Internet users in my country, which is equivalent to 24 million. Nearly half of adolescents with internet addiction take “playing online games” as their main purpose of surfing the Internet, and spend the longest time, and 13.2% of internet addicted teenagers spend the longest time on “chat or make friends”.

Similarly, a study of 1,178 children and adolescents aged 8-18 in the United States showed that they spend 44.5 hours facing the screen every week, and 23% of them think they are addicted to online games. Parents worry that the screen takes away the time for children to experience other aspects of life.

Dr. Douglas Gentile, director of the Media Research Laboratory at Iowa State University, said that the study also showed: “Almost one in ten young online game players has a symptom that hinders their academic, family life or mental health. Function, this is worthy of attention.”

Recognize the warning of potential internet addiction

Children fill their free time with online games and other Internet activities: social networking, instant messaging, etc. Dr. Kimberly Young, director of the Internet Addiction Recovery Center, pointed out that the following characteristics are potential signs of children warning of pathological Internet addiction:

Changes in the normal rhythm of life

Time forgotten as soon as you go online, such as time to eat, sleep, time to do homework, etc.

Willing to sacrifice sleep time to surf the Internet

Check emails or online messages multiple times a day

Time spent online instead of homework or other chores

Violating the Internet usage settings and time restrictions you set for him

Lie to yourself about spending time online or go online secretly when no one is paying attention

Changes in interpersonal relationships:

Tend to spend time online rather than with friends or family

Establish new relationships with netizens you don’t know

Changes in mood and interest:

When you are online, you become irritable or angry when interrupted 

If you are not allowed to access the Internet, you will become irritable

I still seem to be addicted to the Internet after leaving the computer

Become irritable, moody or frustrated when not online

Lost interest in offline activities that were previously of interest

The above small changes in behavior are actually “warnings”, and parents need to find out in time and take active actions. Of course there will be more different appearances.

Internet addiction among teenagers and children-the emotional cost

Many parents begin to think that the problem of children playing games and surfing the Internet is not big, but when they find that their children have academic problems, they start to get serious. In fact, in addition to academics, young people’s internet addiction can cause worrying and “emotional” changes. If young people’s internet addiction is not corrected in time, the communication channel with you will be gradually closed, but they are willing to change Their questions are communicated with strangers on the Internet.

In online games and online communication, they can escape the unhappiness in life. With a single click of the mouse, in the exciting and challenging game, they can enter a different world, in which their problems in real life no longer exist, and the experiences they wish to do or wish to have It becomes possible. They can play or chat with anyone in the online chat room, and they can also play or chat with other players from all over the world. As a result, chatting with parents becomes unimportant or a burden.

Just like indulging in drugs and alcohol, the Internet provides children and adolescents with a way to get rid of painful feelings or disturbing situations. They sacrifice the required sleep time to spend time online, quit family and friends, and escape to create and shape a comfortable online world.

Children who lack rewards, good parenting relationships, and poor social and coping skills in real life are more likely to develop inappropriate or excessive online habits. Because in real life, they feel lonely, alienated, and may encounter difficulties in making new friends. To this end, they turn to invisible strangers in online chat rooms to seek the attention and companionship they lack in real life. Some children who have serious family problems or who have suffered bullying or social difficulties in school and extracurricular activities are often more willing to spend time on the Internet to solve problems. Socially, they are also more willing to send instant messages to friends instead of developing face-to-face conversations. 

How to avoid children’s internet addiction

Where to ask the question directly

Express directly to your children that if you have been online for a long time recently, we hope that the time for online entertainment can be controlled within one hour. The two parents need to agree and discuss the matter with him in a friendly way of communicating with the child. Some children may react emotionally. this is normal. The key is that when you communicate, don’t use inappropriate accusatory words, and don’t react positively to your child’s emotions, because he will feel that he is not respected and walk away. You have to confirm your child’s feelings, understand his feelings, and focus on topics that help him use the Internet correctly.

Show your concern and love

Tell your children that you love them and care about their mood and happiness. This will help you start the discussion. Children and adolescents often unconsciously characterize their parents’ attention to their behavior as accusations and criticisms. For this reason, when discussing with your child, it is not recommended to use condemning words, such as fatigue, decline in grades, abandoning hobbies, social withdrawal, etc. It can be said that I want to see how you allocate your online study and online entertainment time. What entertainment network do you usually watch to make yourself relax after studying. This will help you understand the content of their online entertainment, and at the same time, this kind of dialogue will help to reflect your understanding of their learning tension, and relaxation is necessary, just how to arrange the time and the content of relaxation. Such a conversation will be friendly communication.

Make yourself more proficient in computer and network

In order to better understand the trajectory of children surfing the Internet, learning to check the history folder and online log records, etc., understanding parental monitoring software and installing filters can help you. But you need a certain degree of computer and network knowledge. For every parent, it is important to learn terms (technical terms and common terms) and familiar with computers, at least to know what their children are doing online. Let yourself be interested in the Internet and understand the trajectory of your child online.

Set reasonable rules and boundaries

Many parents see that their children have signs of internet addiction and take away their mobile phones or computers as a punishment. The children will be very angry. Some parents feel terrified and stop letting their children go online, believing that this is the only way to get rid of this problem. In fact, both of these methods can cause trouble. Because these two methods will make children internalize that they are not good children, and you are blocking what they like; thus they will see you as an enemy rather than an ally; they will suffer sudden nervousness, anger and irritability The symptoms of withdrawal are like quitting smoking suddenly.

What you need to do is to sit down with your child to discuss the time spent on the Internet, and thus determine a limit of usage, such as: one hour of surfing the Internet every night after homework, and a few weekends. Help children abide by the rules and remember, give timely encouragement and rewards, so that children realize that you are not trying to control or change their personality, but to help them get rid of psychological dependence on the Internet.

Finally, it is very important to place the computer in a place that everyone can see, such as the living room. Create a rule so that Internet activities that are not related to homework can only be accessed in public areas of the family, so that your children are more likely to interact with you or other family members.

Also Read: Whole-Brain Education: How to Improve Children’s Emotions

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